The University of La Verne softball team renewed its push for a postseason berth by taking both games of a doubleheader against Occidental College by scores of 4-2 and 10-5 in SCIAC action Friday at Bell Field in Los Angeles.
The Leopards rallied with four runs in the seventh inning to post a comeback win over the Tigers in the opener while combining for nine runs in two separate innings of the second game en route to a twinbill sweep over the Tigers.
GAME 1: La Verne 4, Occidental 2
Occidental pitcher Brittany Vacura held La Verne scoreless with just one hit over the first six innings while the Tigers scored a pair of runs in the third to grab an early 2-0 lead.
The Tigers' two runs came off the bat of Jacqueline Shimamota, who stroked a two-run single to plate both Jerika Barron and Ali Goldberg.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the seventh, the Leopard bats came to life in a nick of time. Danielle Vela reached on a fielding error and advanced to second on a single from Breeanna De La Rosa. Raven Freret followed by driving in the Leopards' first run, a double to left center to score Vela to close the gap to one run.
Katherine Kibbe tied the game with an RBI single to left field to score De La Rosa, putting runners on first and third with none out.
Kibbe retired the Tigers in order to register her eighth win of the season. Vacura struck out six batters with no walks in taking the loss.
GAME 2: La Verne 10, Occidental 5
After Occidental took an early 1-0 advantage, La Verne scored five runs in the second inning on four hits and a Tiger error. The Leos tied the contest at 1-1 when Kibbe reached on an Occidental fielding error, advanced to third on a single from a single from Nunez, and scored by stealing home on the back end of a double steal.
Later in the frame, Mackenzie Dutton doubled to left center to score Nunez for a 2-0 lead. After De La Rosa drew a bases loaded walk, Freret hit a two-run single to left to plate both Copas and Taylor Williams to put the Leos on top 5-1.
Williams would give La Verne a 6-1 lead with an RBI single in the third inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Oxy would add a run on a Morgan Giusti single to score Jerika Barron.
Leading 6-2, La Verne would tack on four runs in the top of the seventh to put the game out of reach. The frame was highlighted by a three-run homer from Duran over the left field fence.
Freret, Kibbe, Nunez and Williams each had two hits each in the game as the Leopard offense produced 11 hits in all. Rachel Hong was the beneficiary of the run support as she pitched 6 2/3 innings, registering 7 strikeouts.
With the two wins, La Verne (21-13, 13-11 SCIAC) moves into sole possession of fourth place in the SCIAC standings. The Leopards continue road conference action Saturday as they face fifth-place Whittier College (21-11, 11-11) in a key league doubleheader in Whittier. Start time is 12:00 pm.